With the housing market reopened, what are the rules for safe viewings? A group of the property industry’s main trade and government bodies have got together to formulate a guide to best practice. The full document covers many operational aspects, but we have extracted their recommendations for viewings for both buyers and sellers - see below. If. on the other hand, you want to read the full document click here.
When booking a visit or viewing of a potential new home in Marylebone, Mayfair, Hyde Park or Regent’s Park, an agent will ask a series of questions prior to visiting your property, including:
• Has anyone in the home had COVID-19?
• Has anyone at home displayed COVID-19 symptoms or not yet completed a required period of household self-isolation?
• Do you or anyone in your family have any COVID-19 symptoms?
• Is there someone in the property that could be/is in the high-risk category? If so, they should ideally not be present in the property. Can a representative be appointed in their place?
They should also confirm with you that any property professionals viewing or visiting your property, or any viewers, haven’t had any symptoms.
When preparing your property for viewings, please protect everyone by:
1. Keeping windows and internal doors open wherever possible.
2. Wiping down door handles/handrails/lift controls or other ‘touch points’, especially in the kitchen and bathroom.
3. Opening a loft hatch and setting up a loft ladder.
4. Turning the room lights on.
5. If possible, leave the property during the visit/inspection; for example, stay outside, or if it is not possible to leave the property, remain in one room. Otherwise, only have one adult present. Ideally wash hands before and after someone has visited and keep to social distancing measures at all times.
6. Ensuring pets and children are not in the property, or stay in one room and move to another room when the visitor needs to see the room they are in.
7. Restrict access to w/c or wash facilities unless the property professional(s) is/are there for a long time. If used, please disinfect afterwards.
8. Sanitising any keys handed to an agent, surveyor or other property professional using hand sanitisers, or passing via a disinfectant wipe.
9. After the visit, don’t forget to wipe down any door handles and other ‘touch points’ with a disinfectant.
10. Some more vulnerable visitors and occupants may ask people present to wear nonsurgical face coverings.
Please read the advice for vulnerable people or those shielding in the Government advice on home moving during the covid-19 outbreak
If you are viewing a property:
1. Before arranging a physical viewing of a property, consider viewing virtually first to minimise the number of visits you need to make.
2. Note that viewings should ideally take place outside commuting hours and avoid using public transport wherever possible.
3. The agent is likely to turn up 10 minutes before any viewings to ensure the property is prepared for viewings.
4. Viewers are asked to wash hands ideally using a hand sanitiser prior to entering and leaving a property.
5. Only one professional and up to two other adults should attend viewings. Where viewers need to be accompanied by small children they should be kept from touching surfaces.
6. Physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household. eg If a couple wish to view but are currently living in separate households, they should book separate viewings.
7. Ideally the agent will show you around the property, but if this is not possible, please adhere to the 2m social distancing rule and wash hands or use a hand sanitiser before and after your visit.
8. Avoid touching surfaces. If you do, use gloves and disinfectant wipes.
9. Some more vulnerable visitors and occupants may ask people present to wear nonsurgical face coverings.
10. Any feedback on the property should ideally be discussed outside or after the visit.
Please be patient; it may take longer to secure a viewing due to staff being furloughed or more property visits having to be accompanied by the agent. All of these measures are in place to keep everyone as safe as possible.
15-minute viewing and visits
Where possible, and depending on the size of the property, agents and viewers will be asked to minimise time inside the property.
This won’t be possible, however, for property assessments such as energy performance, for preparing marketing materials, and surveys or removals.
Good time keeping is essential, and communication if running late.
Guidance compiled by:
British Association of Removers
Bold Legal Group
Council for Licensed Conveyancers
The Conveyancing Association
Council of Property Search Organisations
The Home Buying and Selling Group
HM Land Registry
House Builders’ Federation
The Law Society
NAEA Propertymark NI
Press Property Energy Professionals Association
The Society of Licenced Conveyancers
Law Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Residential Property Surveyors Association